Grand Tour

SD takes us for a ride on his new album – Grand Tour

Out now on Dispatch Recordings

SD’s latest album has arrived on Dispatch Recordings. 

‘Grand Tour’ is a love letter to drum & bass, but also to his family, to summer, and to the road trip that is life. With roots in thrash metal and rock music, SD found his way into the drum & bass scene 14 years ago thanks to the song ‘Pulp Fiction’ by Alex Reece. Ever since then, he’s been paving his way.

‘Grand Tour’ is both a summary of and a new direction for SD’s music, with some songs inspired by classic jungle and others being rooted in techstep and ambient. Today, we talked about SD’s inspirations, motivations, his drum & bass beginnings, and a whole lot more. We also caught the premiere of Gold & Rust:



SDCongratulations on your album! What’s the story behind it?

This album is the fulfilment of my vision of drum & bass music. I have never stuck to one genre since I started producing drum & bass. I was a drummer before I started producing, so that’s also where I get inspiration from sometimes. On this album, you can hear a lot of liquid, a lot of tech, and a lot of jungle. I started creating this album two years ago when I was in a really bad period and didn’t feel like making music anymore. It came after a time when I had just had a lot of releases. When you’re at the highest point of your creativity and then get stuck… That’s hard. I was really close to giving up, so I just stopped producing for a while, and I thought, “Okay, let’s go back to the piano; let’s go back to the guitars…”

I started by listening to jazz and punk. Little by little, the ideas started coming again. The first track I made for this album was ‘Ending Credits’. This got me going again. There is not a single connection between the tracks of the album. didn’t follow any kind of rule. That is what really stimulated me. I’m happy this album is getting a home on Dispatch Recordings. 

You found yourself stuck at some point. How did you get unstuck?

I’ve been discussing this topic with producers like Quadrant and HLZ. HLZ has been a bit of a mentor to me. He taught me it’s common to find yourself stuck in music production. The most important lesson is that sometimes you have to let tracks rest, like a fine wine. You have to allow it to get older. Another one is that if you don’t feel like making music, don’t force yourself. Sometimes, you need to stop for a while. I find comfort in being stuck now. Then, I listen to music or focus on a particular sound design technique, just messing around with it, going back to the roots. 

You were a drummer before. How did you get into drum & bass?

I still have goosebumps when I think about it. It was around 2000. I was in high school back then, and a friend of mine had a cassette of ‘INCredible Sound of Drum ‘n’ Bass’ mixed by Goldie. Back then, I was more into thrash metal and rock music, and I wasn’t very keen on any kind of electronic music. I was a headbanger, had long hair, and all that. That’s until I listened to ‘Pulp Fiction’ by Alex Reece. Those trumpets and that bass line… I was like, “What the fuck is going on here?” It’s so deep, it’s so intense, but yet so powerful. This track convinced me that drum & bass had everything.

With drum & bass, you can express a lot of feelings, I was like totally obsessed. Bit by bit, I started to discover more about the genre and realised that this was the kind of music I wanted to make. 

How did you find your way into the scene? 

It started for me about 14 years ago. I was constantly messing around in my DAW, making music for myself and my band. Most of the time, I was arranging rock and heavy metal tracks to play with my band, and sometimes, I was messing around with synthesisers and drum machines. This gradually evolved into my desire to produce electronic, drum & bass music. I decided to buy a desktop controller, and I started begging around to let me play. That’s how I started to play small gigs and met some guys who were part of some crews here in Palermo. Things got more serious from there. I bought some CDJs, and started to appreciate vinyl. That’s when I started to buy vinyl and more music. I began to understand the importance of buying music, supporting the artists and creating a community. 

Then, for the producer part. I got my first release on a small label, which made me so happy. That made me really motivated during that period. I felt amazing and motivated to make more, but no big label took me. My musical career has always had ups and downs. The high that changed everything was when I started releasing on Delta9 Recordings, FokuZ Recordings, and Commercial Suicide. My music started to mean something to someone, and I started getting to know more about drum & bass labels. For this album, I’m thankful I get to release it on Dispatch Recordings. 

Do you ever go back to the first clubs you played at?

It happened a while ago. I had to slow down because I had just become a father. When I played there, I thought, “Wow, this is where it all began.” I got a really strong Peter Pan syndrome. I was thinking about how 14 or 15 years had passed. It felt like yesterday!

What’s something else you’re proud to look back on?

My very first physical copy of my release. It was a compilation on CD for FokuZ Recordings. My track was called ‘In Your Eyes’ and was dedicated to my wife. There’s a sample in there from the movie ‘The Legend of 1900’, saying, “Life is immense”. I was listening to this recently. Now that I have a child, I was thinking about how I can leave this to my child one day. The same happened with my last release on Dispatch, ‘1997’. My child will have this one day and will be able to say, “My dad did this.” That’s amazing. Digital music gets lost in the ethereal world of the internet, but this is something that will stay with me for a long time. 

Yes, absolutely. That’s amazing. Now, back to your latest release, ‘Grand Tour’. What does the title mean?

Grand Tour. Gran Giro, on this rollercoaster of drum & bass music. Some of the tracks are influenced by this topic of the trip, the voyage, the adventure, driving on the road during sunset, a motorcycle trip in the desert, driving like crazy in the city, or thinking about the race cars of the 70s. All these concepts of speed, trips, and journeys have led me to choose the title Grand Tour. 

Tell me more about the tracks on this album.

‘Desert Leaves’ was an ambient experiment. I was messing around with some foley sounds and a few recordings I made with my cell phone. This was during a period when I was listening to Bonobo a lot. This was the first time I made a track that wasn’t 172, but a kind of 130 BPM ambient-infused track. There’s also a Bandcamp Exclusive version of this track, which is more of a techno edit with a 4×4 kick. One thing that surprised me was that Ant from Dispatch allowed me to put it on the album. He was really enthusiastic about it. It was his idea to make a techno edit for it, too. I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Another track I really love is ‘Dominos’. It’s a metal jungle-infused track. I was thinking about these gangster movies from the 50s, and tried to find some samples and quotes from noir movies, but I didn’t find anything. How could I make a track that sounded like you were a gangster? I came up with this really savvy bassline, which is simple but effective. It’s one of my favourites from the album.

‘Smooth Highway’ is a track I made during summer. I made a short video clip for this track, with all sorts of clips of summer and vegetation and streets. It’s a bit cheesy, but this reminds me of the summer of 2022. It was my first summer with my wife and son at the seaside. This whole album is packed with personal experiences from the last two years. It has been really influenced by this new adventure called “Family and Parenthood”.

‘Losing You’ is a song that Ant likes a lot. It’s a fast, straightforward track with a continuous bass line and rolling drums. I made it during a period where I felt down with production. I didn’t feel like making music again. ‘Losing You’ is about losing the music. I thought I had lost it. The track that helped me get my inspiration and motivation back is ‘True Romance’ by dBridge and Vegas. I remembered how it made me feel the first time I listened to the song. For ‘Losing You’, I tried to replicate the same feeling.

Another track I really love is ‘Unstoppable’. I made this one when I started talking to Quadrant and Iris. We collaborated on Delta9 Recordings, and I was obsessed with making these techie rollers with fat and spacious synths without being cheesy. They’re both amazing producers, and I struggled to emulate that sound in my solo work. I went back to my roots again. I thought, “Let’s make it simple.” When I produce, I first make noises with my voice to see how it sounds. It sounds silly, but that’s really how I work. It makes things simple for me. This led me to start packing up tiles one upon tiles and making things more complex. I just couldn’t stop creating. It was like a compulsive need to make something more rolling and rolling and rolling from the breakdown. That’s why I called the track ‘Unstoppable’. When I finished that track, I listened to it for weeks because I was so happy with it. I was so satisfied with how it sounded, it was so ‘simple’ yet effective. Nothing too baroque or cheap, just straight to your face. This is the track that made me fall in love with techstep again, so I really have to thank Quadrant and Iris. 

What more do you have planned this year?

Another album. After seeing all these tracks together, it doesn’t make sense to me to release two tracks or four tracks. I’m probably going to do a couple of releases with two or four tracks, but I discovered that the best way to express myself with drum & bass music is to put everything I have together, shake it, then throw it out and see what happens. Getting booked for gigs, parties, and festivals would be amazing, but I’m not looking for them. My priority is to make another album and focus on music. Because one day, there won’t be any more inspiration. That would be when you have to recognise that your journey has ended and accept that there is no more space for you. But I want to keep doing this for as long as possible, I want to keep creating music. That’s where my focus lies.

Any final thoughts?

I want to give a massive shoutout to Ant TC1, who really believed in me and this album. It has been an amazing journey. HLZ, Emilio, ciao Emilio, sei un grande. He has been a real mentor for me. I want to thank Quadrant, Iris, and Diego Mainetti from Delta9 Recordings. I also want to give a big shoutout to some of my favourite producers from Italy: The Dreamers, KIRIL, Neve, Crimson… Asterisco, as well, because they are pushing the underground music here in Palermo. I want to thank everybody from the scene in Italy because, in our little scene, we had a chance to talk a lot about music production and how to push forward. Everyone keeps the scene alive in their own way. Last but not least, I want to thank my wife and my family because they were my very first source of inspiration. 

SD – Grand Tour is out now on Dispatch

Follow SD: Facebook > Soundcloud > Instagram

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